Pack of floppies

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Name pack of floppies
Appearance box containing little plastic cards
Base price 300 zm
Weight 30
Material plastic
Monster use Will not be used by monsters.

A pack of floppies is a tool in that appears in NetHack: The Next Generation and SlashTHEM. It is made of plastic, and appears as a box containing little plastic cards when unidentified.

The pack of floppies is the base item for two quest artifacts: The Nethack Sources and the Master Boot Disk.


Geeks and Hackers each start the game with a pack of floppies in their inventory.

Eight packs of floppies are placed randomly across the goal level of the Geek quest at level creation.


A Hacker can "read" the contents of floppies by applying them while not blind, revealing one of six potential disks at random:

  • Microsoft Windows 3.1
  • Bill Gates
  • Leisure Suit Larry V
  • LINUX 1.00
  • your NetHack patches
  • "nothing of importance"

Reading "Microsoft Windows 3.1" will print YAFM and cause you to become confused for 50-100 turns, while finding "Bill Gates" also prints YAFM, but has no other effect. The other disk labels have no effect when read.


Most roles will have no use for a pack of floppies. However, Hackers can use them to reap the benefits of reading certain scrolls while confused - a non-cursed unicorn horn is ideal to cure the confusion afterward.


A floppy disk is a dated form of data storage used from the 1960s to the 1990s, composed of a flexible circular disk that the data is magnetically recorded on. The name comes from the early 5.25" and 8" form factors (or physical specifications) that had flexible cases - the term is also used for the later 3.5" disks, which instead have a rigid plastic case; the description of this item when unidentified suggests that the pack is composed of 3.5" "floppy" disks.

The original 8" disks were used on business systems, while the 5.25" disks ('mini-floppies') were common to the Apple II and early PCs, and the 3.5" disks ('micro-floppies') were used on Macs and later PCs. During the early years of NetHack development and play, floppy disks would have been a standard medium for storing and exchanging files, including personal copies of the NetHack source and patches - thus, they appear in the starting inventory of the Geek roles from both NetHack: The Next Generation and NetHack-- 3.0.10, with the Hacker of SlashTHEM derived from the latter; one of the disks that can be "read" by the Hacker contains NetHack patches.

Floppy disk capacity varied greatly depending on the "density" of the disk itself, whether one or both sides were used, and the geometric pattern used to record data: A single-sided 5.25" floppy could have as little as 140KB of usable storage, while the largest "common" floppy capacity was 1.44MB for 3.5" disks; later proprietary "superfloppy" systems such as Iomega zip disks had capacities of up to 750MB, but never gained wide acceptance due to both being incompatible with existing disks and to emerging shortly before more practical solutions, such as rewritable CDs and USB flash drives.

As still-more efficient storage media became available to modern computer users, floppies are more and more rarely seen outside of legacy systems (particularly industrial equipment). It is still possible to access 3.5" disks on modern computers via USB floppy drives, and drivers to read the disks are still present in modern editions of Linux - far fewer options for reading older disk form factors exist outside of specialized devices or else computers from that same period combined with a means to interface with more modern hardware (e.g. a network connection, serial port, or even simply a 3.5" floppy drive).

The contents of a pack of floppies includes several references to geek culture as well:

  • Leisure Suit Larry V is an entry in the Leisure Suit Larry series of adventure video games, whose protagonist is the titular Larry Laffer: a balding computer programmer and lifelong geek in his 40s who tries and frequently fails to seduce attractive young women, designed as a parody of stereotypical male chauvinism.
  • Microsoft Windows 3.1 is a major release for the operating system that was released to manufacturing on April 6, 1992. Both Microsoft and its co-founder Bill Gates are reviled in 'typical' geek circles for various reasons, including monopolization of operating systems that promoted the use of proprietary software over open-source alternatives such as Linux - this is the basis for both YAFMs and the potential confusion from applying a pack of floppies.


You shriek in pain!
You read a "Windows 3.1" disk and became confused.
You feel horrible!
You read a "Bill Gates" disk.